Hampshire 72-4 v Kent: Hall gets in groove to keep Kent swinging in the rain

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The Independent Online

Cricket in the drought-ridden South of England once again this season fell victim to the weather, when rain delayed the start of play here yesterday, rudely interrupted it on four further occasions and finally forced an early close, to rob the day of a total of 75 overs.

But even in that short time, Kent were able to make significant inroads into their opponents. There is a steelier look to Kent these days. Like Hampshire they now have a team song: CDs of "This is our time" sold out in a week at the start of the season.

In this game all the time on the pitch belonged to Kent. Play was just three balls old when James Adams shaped to play the fourth and was yorked by a late in-swinger from the South African all-rounder Andrew Hall. Simon Cook, Hall's new ball partner, then forced the exit of Michael Brown for the second duck of the innings, caught at first slip by Hall's fellow South African Justin Kemp.

It needed some serious application by the vastly experienced John Crawley to stop the rot. But while he managed to master the breaks in concentration caused by the rain, he lost two partners as Hampshire floundered in the face of well-controlled seam and swing bowling.

The opening bat Michael Carberry managed to stick around with Crawley, helping to add 35 for the third wicket, but when Hall got one to rise steeply the batsman deflected it on to the stumps.

Dominic Thornely, the man with a reputation for big hitting, was barely able to put bat on ball. Having reached 13, his edge was snapped up by the wicketkeeper Niall O'Brien. Mercifully for Hampshire the rain closed in and that was that.